Last week, I wondered if Bill Belichick — aka the smartest guy in the room — would take a flier on Nebraska fullback Andy Janovich in this year’s NFL draft.
Right idea. Wrong Husker.
Is Vincent Valentine about to laugh the last laugh? Possibly. There were no shortage of opinions out there that said the Husker defensive lineman had made a mistake by leaving school early. Especially with one John Parrella looking to shape up Mike Riley’s D-line.
No offense to Big John, but for a young defensive lineman looking for a place to develop, Valentine just hit the lotto.
Perceptions are funny things, and Belichick has earned his stripes. If any other coach had taken Valentine, high on potential but low on résumé, as a third-rounder, the critics would have the volume turned up.
But if Belichick takes him, suddenly Valentine must be a steal. What does Coach Hoodie know that nobody else does?
Look, Valentine came to Lincoln as a budding star. A kid with a future as big as his image in the mirror. He showed flashes of that, but injuries got in the way, too.
And we thought he would get here, but after he left his footprints through some more Big Ten backfields first.
The big guy rolled the dice and won. Good for him. He has his degree (sociology) and had confidence in his ability. But how did he fall into such good hands?
Rich Hill, a Patriots beat writer for Pats Pulpit, offered a window into Hoodie’s mind. Hill says the Pats see Valentine as a run stopper, and drafted him specifically to plug up the middle.
But aren’t fewer teams running the ball in the NFL? Hmmm.
“As more and more teams play nickel defenses, head coach Bill Belichick is of the belief that teams will start running the ball more,” Hill wrote. “Because that’s what he’d do.
“When offensive coordinators see defenses with five defensive backs on the field, they see an opportunity to run the ball against a lighter defense. Belichick could be adding beef in the middle of the field to remove that advantage from opposing coaches.”
That’s one theory. Go with it, Vincent. We’ll be watching, and saying we knew it all along.
» If the run game is going to make a comeback in the NFL, why not fullbacks? Janovich got scooped up by Denver, and nobody around Broncoland was surprised. With Peyton Manning now retired, coach Gary Kubiak is expected to put in a two-back scheme. And no, it didn’t hurt Jano that he’s a black belt in special teams.
Seems like yesterday we were asking Riley about this Janovich kid and he was telling us he thought Janovich would make it in the NFL.
» What I know is, it’s good to be writing about a Nebraska native fullback again.
» Creighton is part of national college baseball conversations these days. Why? That No. 21 RPI (according to D1Baseball.com).
The Jays’ schedule is not great, and playing in the Big East weighs it down further. CU has nice wins over Jacksonville and BYU, but not much else. What gives?
Winning. Creighton wins. The Jays are 30-9, and single-digit losses on May 2 is pretty impressive, no matter who you’re playing. Only six other teams in the top 25 RPI have single-digit losses, including No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Louisville, No. 3 South Carolina, No. 4 Miami and No. 5 Texas A&M.
Say what you want about the RPI, and the West Coast teams will, but it rewards winning. And penalizes losing, especially to bad teams.
Which makes CU’s high-wire act even more impressive.
“Looking at their schedule coming up, they probably can’t go much higher,” said Kyle Peterson, the ESPN college baseball analyst. “But think about what would happen if they had lost one game to Villanova. They might have dropped 15-20 points. You gotta keep winning. Absolutely, what they are doing is impressive.”
» Creighton men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott says Maurice Watson did not get an invite to the NBA combine. McDermott said Watson doesn’t have a trip or workouts with NBA teams planned as of yet.
Nebraska’s Andrew White also didn’t make the list, according to reports from national college basketball writers with knowledge of the invite list.
According to DraftExpress.com, Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell and Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet made the alternate list. Tough crowd.
» What happened to Laremy Tunsil on NFL draft night should scare the Twitter out of all college athletes with stars in their eyes. It should get them to lock themselves in a room for five months — and then hope their previous five years don’t make it online.
But will it? What are the ramifications here? Tunsil dropped a few spots, not a few rounds, because of the video that surfaced just before the draft began. He’s with a good franchise, he’ll get his money and his future, and it will all go away as we look for the next sideshow to cover.
There will be more. What a time to be a college kid, huh? What a time to have teenagers, and by that, I mean the guy I’m looking at in the mirror.
» Nebraska quarterback thought of the day: I’m not surprised that Patrick O’Brien will probably redshirt next season, and it’s probably the right thing to do. But Riley being locked into Tommy Armstrong-Ryker Fyfe next fall means NU goes into 2017 with no experience at quarterback. I thought Riley might try to get O’Brien or A.J. Bush some game snaps next season. The quarterback race next spring will be more crowded than a press box buffet.
Which means the Huskers should have an experienced guy going into 2018, and that’s not a bad idea, considering the itinerary includes games at Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan State at home.
» One more and I’m outta here: I hear Seward is lovely this time of year. I’ll be making my first trip there on Wednesday to speak to the Seward Rotary Club. First time there in 24 years? My apologies. Better late than never. Can’t wait.
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